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Dueling Dishes: Southern-style mac and cheese vs. cheesy baked ziti

There's nothing like a carb-loaded competition.
/ Source: TODAY

For the next few weeks, Make-Ahead Monday is getting a special makeover. In addition to featuring delicious recipes that can be prepped in advance, there will also be two guest chefs making their own versions of the same dish. Joining us for the first installment of Dueling Dishes, YouTube sensation Laura Vitale and Food Network star Kardea Brown are competing with their favorite mac and cheese recipes. Vitale is preparing the classic comfort food with an Italian twist by adding prosciutto and fontina cheese, using the leftovers for cheesy pasta pie, while Brown is bringing her Southern-style mac to the table and repurposing the leftovers in a hamburger taco skillet.

A twist on a classic baked ziti, but perhaps better and definitely easier, this dish is an adult version of mac and cheese with bits of salty prosciutto that is impossible to stop eating.

I love Southern-style mac and cheese because it's cheesy and hearty, yet sturdy. It's basically a custard-style baked macaroni and cheese with eggs, heavy cream and sharp cheddar cheese. There's no denying this mac and cheese is irresistible!

Prosciutto Pasta Pie

I grew up eating pasta pie most weeks. My nonna would make pasta on Sundays and she would use leftovers to make this dish. It's delicious warm but even better cold, straight out of the fridge.

Taco Hamburger Skillet

I love this meal because it's easy, tasty and ready in 30 minutes or less. It's a delicious mashup of creamy mac and cheese, spicy tacos and meaty hamburgers. Plus, you can make this recipe with ingredients you more than likely already have in your fridge and pantry.

If you like those easy pasta recipes, you should also try these:

Speedy Skillet Ravioli Lasagna